The Big Heat (1953)

The Big Heat, Fritz Lang. 1953. Set in Anytown, USA, all the hard-boiled elements are here: dead crooked cop, Mafioso with political connections, police elite on the take, fast talking tough guys (embodied by a young Lee Marvin), and the lone wolf detective who will take them all down. Adapted from a Saturday Evening Post serial, the story is noir at its most brutal. Glenn Ford as brooding detective Bannion deserves special mention for a delivery that’s all mumbles, intense stares, and bursts of violence. A 1950s family man, at home he wears cardigans; once he goes rogue cop, it’s the required trench coat and fedora. What really makes the picture, however, is Lang’s camera, which floats and hovers and zooms and swivels then fixes its gaze like a ghost watching its own funeral. The contribution from the master of German Expressionism to the noir genre is starkly on display: morbid cool tinged with claustrophobia that amplifies the darkness…while watching the film, we are the ghost at the funeral dance.



Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Being Part of Our Great History...

Forgotten Films

A look at the movies forgotten by time


Give her food and she will conquer the world

Wonderful Cinema

Short reviews on high quality films. No spoilers.


An annual review of prose, poetry, and artwork, published in affiliation with San Diego State University



Street Talk

Word on the street is...

%d bloggers like this: